Separate but Equal

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Separate but Equal

The doctrine first enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S. Ct. 1138, 41 L. Ed. 256 (1896), to the effect that establishing different facilities for blacks and whites was valid under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as long as they were equal.

The theory of separate but equal was used to justify segregated public facilities for blacks and whites until in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954), the Supreme Court recognized that "separate but equal" schools were "inherently unequal." The principle of "separate but equal" was further rejected by the Civil Rights Acts (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000a et seq.) and in subsequent cases, which ruled that racially segregated public facilities, housing, and accommodations violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of laws.


Civil Rights; Integration; "Plessy v. Ferguson" (Appendix, Primary Document).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cases and examples discussed include the Pentagon Papers, the Kiobel case, mass incarceration and social control, the separate but equal doctrine, and Japanese internment camps.
"More than 60 years after the Brown decision rendered the separate but equal doctrine null and void, these figures for black students highlight a significant reversion to the all-black schools mandated during the Jim Crow-era," the authors write, alluding to the landmark Brown v Board of Education case in which the Supreme Court struck down the "separate but equal doctrine."
Oklahoma State Regents that preceded Brown are thoughtfully dissected, particularly Plessy, the wellspring of the separate but equal doctrine that Brown overturned.
Ferguson, which advanced the separate but equal doctrine. The court held that segregation was legal if equal facilities were offered to both races.